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Appropriate Limits of Science in the Formation of Public Policy

Maureen Condic
Science and technology are increasingly the subject of legis-
 lative and policy decisions. These topics are frequently attended
 by considerable disagreement and public debate. Often, the
 opinions and recommendations of scientific experts contrast viv-
 idly with the opinions of many Americans, leaving policy makers
 with no clear consensus on how to proceed. What are the appro-
 priate limits of scientific testimony in the formation of public pol-
 icy? How are decisions regarding scientific issues to be justly
 made and what considerations must be taken into account when
 evaluating the opinions and information provided by scientific
 experts? The utility of scientific testimony depends critically on
 the nature of the decision at hand and is limited both by the
 culture of science and the personality traits of scientists.

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